Euros 2024: Southgate plays down 100th match milestone as Prince William to cheer on England in quarter-final | UK News

This is England’s Euros lifeline – a quarter-final clash that looked so unlikely deep into injury time last weekend.

Fresh from the great escape against Slovakia, Gareth Southgate heads into his 100th match in charge of England playing down the milestone publicly while focused on trying to get past Switzerland tonight.

But captain Harry Kane is full of praise for the manager who has enabled him to reach the last eight at four consecutive tournaments.

“It just shows his standards and the consistency that he’s shown along with the coaching staff as well,” said Kane, who scored the extra-time winner against Slovakia in the last 16.

“He’s changed a lot in terms of our national team in his tenure since he’s been here.

“Not just on the pitch and off the pitch as well, and the connections we’ve had with the fans and the media, and he’s allowed people to open up and be themselves.

“That’s been a big turning point in our careers as England players. So, I’m really happy for him and he should be extremely proud, but all he’s worrying about is making sure we win.”

Southgate's team will now play Switzerland on Saturday. Pic: Reuters
Kane said Southgate has changed a lot. Pic: Reuters

The Prince of Wales has been confirmed as one of those who will attend the game, hopeful to see the team bag a place in the semi-finals.

The royal’s continued support for the team comes after he travelled to Frankfurt for England’s second game of the tournament, which ended in a 1-1 draw against Denmark.

‘I’m expecting us to play well’

Lose and Southgate’s eight-year tenure is set to end, having been unable to end the Three Lions’ 58-year wait for another trophy.

But win in Dusseldorf and it would be a third semi-final in his reign.

Available for selection is Jude Bellingham, the hero of the 95th-minute comeback against Slovakia after avoiding a UEFA ban for his crude celebration.

Harry Kane celebrates scoring for England vs Slovakia
Kane and Bellingham celebrate a goal against Slovakia. Pic: Reuters

And now fit to play is left-back Luke Shaw, who came to Germany despite being out injured since February.

But Southgate is being tipped to deploy Bukayo Saka, rather than Shaw and Kieran Trippier as wing backs.

That is part of a tactical change reported as Southgate looks to shake-up the side after underwhelming performances in the four matches so far in Germany – while remaining unbeaten.

“There’s been a lot of expectation on the team in the early part of the tournament especially,” Southgate said.

“So I feel that the team, even in training, now look in a different place mentally. They look more fluid and I’m expecting us to play well.”

Jude Bellingham's 95th-minute overhead kick averted a humiliating exit from the tournament. Pic PA
Bellingham’s 95th-minute overhead kick averted a humiliating exit from the tournament. Pic PA

One change is required with centre back Marc Guehi suspended for picking up two bookings.

It has been suggested that for the first time since the Euros final defeat to Italy in 2021, a back three could be used with John Stones, Kyle Walker and Ezri Konsa floated as the trio.

Southgate bristles at suggestions England have ended up on the kinder side of the draw with this clash against Switzerland.

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The winner faces the Netherlands or Turkey in the semifinals while Spain will take on France in the other last-four meeting.

“I would say that’s a classic example of the sort of entitlement we have as a nation that creates drama and annoys our opponents,” said Southgate, who played 57 times for England.

The Swiss were held 1-1 by Scotland in the group stage but knocked out holders Italy last weekend.

“We’re playing a really strong football nation who have played exceptionally well, well prepared, have enormous pride,” Southgate said.

“Our focus is on how do we win this game and how do we play to the best of our ability?”